I am still quite confused after the clubs’ statement about Fergusons retirement. Why now? How will it have an effect on the club? Who is going to take over? I’ll try to give my views on the mentioned questions in this blog post.
It is the end of the season, we have just won our 20th title and the sun shines in Manchester. We will put the trophy back where it belongs against Swansea on the 12th in what is going to be the final game for the club for Ferguson, possibly Scholes and perhaps players like Nani and Anderson. We have a very good team, only missing a player or two to compete for the final two spots in the Champions League and everything is nice. Then Ferguson decides it is time to leave the post as manager and step into a director role at the club.
So why now, Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson?
There are three obvious reasons that come to mind when talking about his retirement at this stage. We all know it was bound to happen within a few years from now, but I never expected it to be now. Especially considering the way we were knocked out of the Champions League.
The first good reason would be his age and health. Sir Alex is 71 years old now, has had a pacemaker since 2004 and is undergoing a hip operation somewhere in the late summer. Being the manager for the biggest club in the world takes its toll on ones health, and ending it now seems like a reasonable choise for an old man like Fergie.
The second reason that comes to mind is that we’ve just won the league and the team is looking very good for the future and is in good shape. We have top notch youngsters in De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Jones, Cleverley and Welbeck already implemented in the first XI, with talents like Januzaj, Powell and Michael Keane coming through from the academy/reserve team. We have world class players in Vidic, Carrick, Van Persie, Kagawa and Rooney that can carry the team on for atleast a couple seasons, and we have the veterans in Ferdinand, Evra, Vidic and Giggs to pass on the experience and knowledge from Fergusons reign to the youngsters coming in. If there ever was a time to leave the ongoing success-train that is Manchester United, now is the perfect opportunity to do so.
The third and final reason that I can think of, is actually a combination of the two above, and that the option to get a new manager that Ferguson has faith in, is in perfect timing after this season. Mourinho is looking to move on “home” back to England where the people love him, Moyes is on an expiring contract and Klopp is looking likely to complete the long term goal for Dortmund, which must be winning the Champions League. You rarely have the opportunity to choose from top class managers like Mourinho, Moyes and Klopp when it is convenient for your own club, and certainly not from three (assuming they are all interested). Maybe now was the perfect time to hand over helm of the ship, and Ferguson saw that it would be in the clubs’ best interest long-term to do so?
How will Fergusons resignation effect the club?
I couldn’t really find a more suitable picture, but whatever. Let’s carry on.
Reddit user OllieWillie asked what Fergusons’ role at Man United would be like when he is changing roles from being the manager and into the role of being the Manchester United director. I already answered what I think this new kind of role is going to demand from him, so I’ll copy it in here.
I would think that the director has a hand in most major decisions the club makes as well as providing the resources for the different aspects of the clubs to do their job well. By that, I think about giving the academy what they need, the reserve team what they need, the medical team what they need and the staff what they need. Ferguson has been part of Man United for such a long time that it should be easy for him to spot it whenever something isn’t going smoothly. I don’t think he will interfere too much with whatever manager we end up with, and how he does his job, but rather is going to make himself available for advice and discussions if the manager needs it (and to be honest, any manager should probably discuss matters with Ferguson). Most of all, he will probably act as the face of Man United to the outside world, being an ambassador for the club. I love to see him attending academy matches with Sir Bobby, and I think that is something we are going to see him doing a lot.
No matter to which degree Ferguson is going to be involved with the team, management or staff, there is no doubt that his shoes are way too big to fill for his replacement. I am positive that nobody, never ever, are going to do what he did for the club. Not for us, nor for another club. It is impossible in todays footballing world. But whether we go for longevity in Moyes, or someone from the “inside” such as Phelan, or a more exciting and exotic name in Klopp, Mourinho or another manager, Ferguson knows that he has to back up the new manager in the same way Sir Bobby Charlton did for him when he was new. The new manager must be given time, opportunity and respect in order for the transition to work smoothly. I personally don’t expect a league title next year, fully based on the fact that Ferguson is not going to be steering the wheels, but I think we’ll do fine in the long term. The clubs’ foundation is extremely strong.
What can we expect from the rumored new managers?
You all know what José “the special one” Mourinho, stands for. Success, trophies, tactical smartness and making his players perform. We saw it in FC Porto, we saw it in Chelsea, in Inter and now in Real Madrid. If given the resources, the time and the respect from the clubs’ board, José delviers trophies. As I said in another reddit post; Mourinho has really been to three shitty clubs for a manager to be in. Big money spending clubs with dominant chairmen and owners. Abramovic started buying players that Mourinho didn’t want, and was requesting certain players to play. I understand why they clashed. At Inter he was brought in to win and to bring attention to Inter (who looked like a limping giant at the time). They bought a lot, but also got a lot of media coverage and an increase in club profile. I dont think he went from Inter with anyone having a problem with him. At Real Madrid he has done pretty well for himself. He seems to have become a bit more humble, and the “the best team won”-thing really impressed me. Very respectful. The fact that Spanish clubs are run like a political campaign makes it hard for anyone to keep calm in my opinion. My fear when it comes to Mourinho is if he is willing to commit to United for a long time. If Mourinho is willing to settle down with us, then please, please, be our next manager.
If you read the news, you probably remember Mourinho talking about the “challenges” that he is so fond of. Will there ever arise a greater challenge than succeeding Sir Alex? With everything that follows. That means decades of success. He loves England, he loves our club and shows great respect whenever Man United is the topic. Up until now, I have seen him as a college teenager that has been fooling around with a lot of girls, but when he finds the right one, after having seen what’s out there, he might be ready to settle down and marry. If you know what I mean. Mourinho has always been about making his players world class. Lampard, Terry and Ashley Cole were all top prospects when he came to Chelsea, but they became world class under his management. He could do the same with Jones, Cleverley and Welbeck. If he can implement the mentioned work with academy/reserve players too, you have the best manager in the world after Fergusons retirement.
Is a down to earth, Scottish 50-year old manager that has impressed many football followers during his 11 year stay with Everton. Not only was he a decent player, for clubs like Celtic and Preston North End, but has done remarkably well for himself with Everton. The club has established itself as a top-half Premier League team that not only is run very well but also has started playing an exciting form of football. He has showed the world through his smart purchases, his spending on training facilities and the Everton academy and his tactical awareness in games that he is a manager to be reckoned with. Most impressive is how he has managed the loss of players like Wayne Rooney, Joleon Lescott, Tim Cahill, Jack Rodwell, Mikel Arteta and Andy Johnson. Everton always stood tall and proud the season after a sale like the ones mentioned. His good relationship with Sir Alex is nothing but a plus, and I’ve seen people talking about how perfect a new Scotsman would be as Fergusons’ replacement. Personally I am impressed by how he has always adapted and both made cheap, smart reinforcements during the transfer windows, and how he has adapted to the squad he has had. He has played a different kind of football with the different squads he has had, which is impressive, and something that Ferguson has done too. The only factor that is against Moyes taking over is his complete lack of experience at winning trophies and playing in European matches.
Jurgen Klopp is the hottest manager out there right now. With Klopps’ name being on everyones’ lips, as a concequence of him being a tall, charismatic, funny, successful and cool guy that has made a huge success both with Mainz and now with Borussia Dortmund. Klopp is a fan of the United style of running a club, with emphasis on youngsters and working with what you got, rather than spending money left and right. If you take a look at the Dortmund XI in the game versus Real Madrid, you find that almost every single player on the pitch were cheap, young signings at one point, or home made players. One of the biggest reasons that everyone loves Klopp these days, is because of how he appears in the media. He is charismatic, he seems confident, but always thoughtful. There seems to be an idea behind everything he says, thinks and does with the club. The results speaks for themselves, Dortmund plays the best football in the world at the moment, and Klopp deserves credit for it.
He is a man with strong principles on how to run his club, and in tight relationship with the club director (which Ferguson is going to be at United), they have made amazing things happen, especially in the past three years. His contract with the club expires in 2016, and unfortunately for us, he seems to be a man that wants to finish his contract where he works before moving on. It was the same thing when he was to leave Mainz for Dortmund. “Im staying my contract out before leaving”, and he was a man of his word. If however we can somehow make a deal with the club and with Jurgen, I see him as the perfect signing. More exciting than any player we could possibly buy during the summer. If you gave me the option between Klopp and Ronaldo, I’d go for Klopp.
Seeing as I had already answered some of these questions on /r/reddevils already, I took the liberty of copy/pasting them in where I saw it fit in this post too, I hope you don’t mind. Now for the blog post itself, it feels like a therapy session. I still can’t believe Ferguson is leaving the manager position at the club, and writing my thoughts actually makes me feel a little bit more excited about the summer and the future. That said, I realise the post isn’t top quality, groundbreaking in any way or well written. But some of the redditors I’ve spoke with, told me about how hard it was to actually say something about this entire situation, so I figured I’d give it a go.
A few questions as usual
1. Who is your favorite to take over? And most importantly, WHY?
2. What is your favorite memory including Sir Alex Ferguson?
3. What now? How does the club proceed from something like this?